Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of Professional Orchestra Musicians from the North of Portugal: Comparing String and Wind Musicians

Cláudia Maria Sousa, Jorge Pereira Machado, Henry Johannes Greten, Daniela Coimbra


Introduction: It is well known that musicians are a group prone to suffer from playing-related musculoskeletal disorders. Professional orchestra musicians play for several hours a week and have to fight against pain caused by their profession. The aim of this study was to explore and describe self-reported complaints among professional orchestra musicians and to compare its intensity and the prevalence between string and wind instruments.
Material and Methods: Hundred and twelve professional orchestra musicians from the three main professional orchestras from the North of Portugal were individually interviewed about the prevalence and the intensity (measured by verbal numerical scale for pain) of their playing-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Results: About two third (62.5%) of the interviewed musicians presented playing-related musculoskeletal disorders during the time of the interview. Despite there are no significant statistic values between groups, results suggested that playing-related musculoskeletal disorders are more common in string players and more intense in wind players.
Discussion: Referring to the prevalence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders, our data is in line with other studies from different countries. More than half of professional orchestra musicians in the North of Portugal are playing with a mild to moderate pain.
Conclusion: Future studies focusing on working-related problems among professional orchestra musicians in Portugal would be useful to better describe the problem of occupational diseases among performing artist.


Musculoskeletal Diseases; Musculoskeletal Pain; Music; Occupational Diseases; Portugal

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